Federal Labor has reaffirmed its commitment to having operational restrictions at the proposed Badgerys Creek airport to reduce noise on the neighbouring community.
In its aviation policy document for the election, published on Wednesday, Labor repeated calls for a “no-fly zone” at night over existing residences to the east of Badgerys Creek airport.
The policy, which was first announced in April, would require simultaneous airport operations where aircraft take off and land in one direction – south west of the airport – during overnight hours. The plans has been criticised by pilot groups.
Further, the opposition said flight paths over the proposed airport would be spread out to minimise the impact on the local community.
“Labor will also implement operational measures to reduce concentration of aircraft flight paths over any particular community, as per existing practice at most airports,” its aviation policy said.
Both sides of politics have proposed restrictions on operations at Badgerys Creek.
In May, the federal government asked for flight paths at Badgerys Creek to be redrawn to eliminate a “point merge” at about 5,000-7,000 feet over the Blue Mountains community of Blaxland, just west of Penrith.
Instead, flightpaths will be spread out as part of a comprehensive noise mitigation plan to be contained in the final environmental impact statement (EIS) due for release before the end of 2016.
Federal Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said at the time the instruction to no longer have a single point merge was based on community consultation, which has included about 5,000 submissions to the draft EIS.
Shadow transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese said Labor would ensure Badgerys Creek would have a rail link from the day it opened to “maximise the potential for job creation at the airport and aviation-related industries in the surrounding precinct”.
“Badgerys Creek airport needs to be more than just a runway and a terminal,” Albanese told ABC Radio’s AM on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on June 20 he wanted Badgerys Creek to be “rail-ready from day one”.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said on its website it was currently reviewing the 5,000 public submissions on the draft airport plan and EIS.
“The Airport Plan and EIS are expected to be finalised by mid-2016,” the Department’s website said.
Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said in May she expected to receive the federal government’s Notice of Intention (NOI) or sales contract to build and operate the proposed Badgerys Creek airport some time in 2016.
When the Commonwealth sold Sydney Airport in 2002 it included a 30-year first right of refusal to build and operate any airport within 100km of the existing terminals at Mascot.